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Kedarnath temple compound damaged due to flood; report says 50 pilgrims dead

Kedarnath temple compound damaged due to flood; report says 50 pilgrims dead
Dehradun:  The killer floods triggered by torrential rain in Uttarakhand have damaged a portion of the famous Kedarnath temple but authorities said there have been no reports of damage to the structure itself. (See pics)

Rakesh Tewari, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Ukhimath, told reporters after his return from the Kedarnarth shrine on Monday that 50 bodies are lying in areas adjacent to the shine.

"We are right now concentrating on rescuing those who are alive," the officer said.

About 500 pilgrims stranded at Kedarnath were ferried to safety at Guptkashi yesterday as rescue operations picked up momentum two days after incessant rains wreaked havoc in the hill state, Chief Secretary Subahash Kumar said.

Some of the pilgrims who were brought to safety said barring the Kedarnath shrine and some of the structures adjoining it, most of the residential wings of the temple were damaged.

Bodies of pilgrims were lying in debris of damaged houses, the pilgrims said.

The shrine is located at 3581 meters height which can be reached either by ponies or through a trek of 14 kilometers from Gauri Kund or by helicopter but because of weather the first two methods are not feasible.

At least 102 people have died in landslides triggered by incessant rain in Uttarakhand. Authorities say the toll is likely to increase as 500 people are still reported to be missing. (Read)

"More persons are feared dead at Tejam in Pithoragarh district," Mr Kumar said.

Rudraprayag was the worst hit with around 20 people reported dead and buildings along the banks of the Alaknanda, swept away in the swirling waters of the river. (Rain rampage in pics)

A total of 71,440 pilgrims bound for the Himalayan shrines of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri are stranded in Rudraprayag, Chamoli and Uttarkashi districts of Uttarakhand with the char dham yatra having been suspended.

THE UTTARAKHAND GOVERNMENT HAS SET UP HELPLINES: 0135-2716201, 2710925

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